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World Environment Day: CEC and UNEP North America Formalize Partnership for Environmental Action

Today, during the global celebrations of the 50th annual World Environment Day, the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) is pleased to announce the formalization of its partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) North America Office, with the signing of a five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). This will contribute to the protection of  human health and the environment, address the triple planetary crises of climate change, nature loss and pollution, and support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in North America.

“We are excited for the opportunity to further develop our long-standing relationship and strengthen our collaboration with UNEP to better tackle the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution and continue on our mission to conserve, protect and enhance North America’s environment,” said Jorge Daniel Taillant, CEC Executive Director. “As we celebrate this year’s World Environment Day, and its theme ‘Beat Plastic Pollution,’ we encourage everyone to reduce and avoid unneeded plastic materials, to reimagine and reinvent our relationship with plastic in our production and consumption, and to call on the whole of society to invest in and implement effective solutions to end plastic pollution.”

“We are delighted to strengthen our partnership with the CEC as we work to drive transformative action for people and nature,” said Fatou Ndoye, Acting Regional Director, UNEP North America. “The MoU signing is very significant as it comes on the heels of the second session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee where stakeholders from around the world have come together to work towards the creation of a global legally binding plastics treaty. We are thrilled to be working with the CEC to promote the exemplary efforts already undertaken by Canada, Mexico and the United States to address the plastic pollution crisis.”

Over the next five years, our collaboration will focus on, in addition to tackling plastic pollution, other critical areas such as:

  • Pollution Action – Promote initiatives to further reduce air pollution and improve air quality to improve the health of communities
  • Nature Action – Contribute to the conservation and sustainability of North America’s shared coastal and marine ecosystems
  • Climate Action – Cooperate on responses to climate change, including mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, reducing short-lived climate forcers, and supporting adaptation and resilience to climate change
  • Finance and Economic Transformation – Enhance uptake of circular economy approaches in North America to support the transition to more sustainable production and consumption patterns and more inclusive green economies

The CEC and UNEP intend to collaborate on several cross-cutting issues: enhancing, where possible, the indispensable role of Indigenous Peoples and incorporating Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), including nature-based solutions for climate and resilience; strengthening current efforts on environmental justice for the protection of the health and environment of all communities, including those that are disproportionately vulnerable to climate impacts; engaging creative and innovative North American youth leaders, entrepreneurs, and educators in an inclusive dialogue on global and regional environmental challenges; and working in partnership with the private sector.

As this cooperation agreement strengthens the shared vision and commitments to the North American environment, the CEC and UNEP recognize and celebrate the importance of working together to better address present and future challenges and to drive action on pressing environmental challenges at every level of society.

Environmental Action

The Commission for Environmental Cooperation and the United Nations Environment Programme North America Office partner to consolidate and strengthen regional environmental cooperation to achieve common goals and objectives.

About the CEC

The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) was established in 1994 by the governments of Canada, Mexico and the United States through the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation, a parallel environmental agreement to NAFTA. As of 2020, the CEC is recognized and maintained by the Environmental Cooperation Agreement, in parallel with the new Free Trade Agreement of North America. The CEC brings together a wide range of stakeholders, including the general public, Indigenous people, youth, nongovernmental organizations, academia, and the business sector, to seek solutions to protect North America’s shared environment while supporting sustainable development for the benefit of present and future generations

The CEC is governed and funded equally by the Government of Canada through Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Government of the United States of Mexico through the Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales, and the Government of the United States of America through the Environmental Protection Agency.

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